The genes for chlorate reduction in six bacterial strains were analyzed in order to gain insight into the metabolism. A newly isolated chlorate-reducing bacterium (Shewanella algae ACDC) and three previously isolated strains (Ideonella dechloratans, Pseudomonas sp. strain PK, and Dechloromarinus chlorophilus NSS) were genome sequenced and compared to published sequences (Alicycliphilus denitrificans BC plasmid pALIDE01 and Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1). De novo assembly of genomes failed to join regions adjacent to genes involved in chlorate reduction, suggesting the presence of repeat regions. Using a bioinformatics approach and finishing PCRs to connect fragmented contigs, we discovered that chlorate reduction genes are flanked by insertion sequences, forming composite transposons in all four newly sequenced strains. These insertion sequences delineate regions with the potential to move horizontally and define a set of genes that may be important for chlorate reduction. In addition to core metabolic components, we have highlighted several such genes through comparative analysis and visualization. Phylogenetic analysis places chlorate reductase within a functionally diverse clade of type II dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reductases, part of a larger family of enzymes with reactivity toward chlorate. Nucleotide-level forensics of regions surrounding chlorite dismutase (cld), as well as its phylogenetic clustering in a betaproteobacterial Cld clade, indicate that cld has been mobilized at least once from a perchlorate reducer to build chlorate respiration.